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‘All of a Sudden, You’re Making Extreme Amounts of Money’: NBA Great Grant Hill Teaches Athletes How to Handle Their Money

Retired NBA player Grant Hill, a co-owner and executive of the Atlanta Hawks, is widely considered one of the game’s greatest players. His success in the NBA came quickly, and he says he had to learn about financial responsibility on his own. He doesn’t want other players to be caught off guard financially, and through his partnership with Invesco QQQ he aims to help young earners navigate the world of parochial finance.

Hill
Grant Hil (Photo from https://www.invesco.com/qqq-etf/en/ncaa.html )

When Hill — who is the son of former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Hill — landed his first NBA contract, it was $2.75 million as a rookie — and despite coming from a background of privilege he claims had no clue how to handle such a large amount of money.

“As a student-athlete, you never really have a job,” Hill, who retired as a player in 2013, told Boardroom. “The first job that you have, all of a sudden, you’re in a situation where you’re making extreme amounts of money. And so, in terms of investing, in terms of compound interest, in terms of taxes and what that means, in terms of even budgeting, I was oblivious to.”

Hill educated himself and made sure to connect with the right people. “I wanted to make sure that I had that money 20 years later,” Hill told CNBC Make It.

This is a situation many athletes who have newly turned pro find themselves in. Hill, who earned around $142 million in salary (not including endorsements) in his nearly 20 years in the league, wants to pass on the financial knowledge he’s learned to other athletes on how to maximize their money.

Approximately 78 percent of NFL players go broke within three years of retirement, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. An estimated 60 percent of former NBA players go broke within five years of departing the league, and MLB players file for bankruptcy four times more than the average American, Forbes reported.

Hill has had sneaker deals throughout his career, such as with Fila, with which he signed a lifetime contract with the brand in 2018. He’s also partnered with Sprite and McDonald’s. Hill is currently a broadcaster for NBA TV and Turner Sports, and since 2015 he’s been a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks.

Hill’s working with Invesco QQQ on various financial education projects, including a digital platform last year called “How Not to Suck at Money.” Hill also serves as a guide in an AR digital experience meant to teach young athletes and others about investing.

Invesco QQQ, the Official ETF of the NCAA, hopes to level the playing field through its new digital finance education platform: How Not To Suck at Money.

The platform, which launched late last year, is a free, mobile-first official financial education program from the NCAA. It involves choice-based gameplay and gives players an interactive learning experience based on real-world financial situations. Hill appears on the platform, providing advice to the players. 

With How Not To Suck at Money, users learn about budgeting, building credit, investing, and solving various money dilemmas while navigating a 3D semi-surreal college town.

“I think back to my collegiate years, which was a very different time because we didn’t have the same access to information we do now, but it was more from real-world, real-life experiences where you were kind of forced to learn and figure it out,” Hill told Forbes. “I think a lot of my contemporaries early on made mistakes — they had no concept of managing money or understanding and learning the basic necessities associated with financial education.”

Read “Ex-NFL Star Teaches Current Black Athletes How to Manage Money and Not Go Broke

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